West Ham 1-0 Burnley: Michail Antonio scores his first goal in three months to secure victory for the Hammers as David Moyes' men storm into top 10
- West Ham collected three points at the expense of Sean Dyche's Burnley
- Michail Antonio opened the scoring for the hosts just after nine minutes played
- The result sees the Hammers climb into the top 10 after 18 matches played
- Burnley now hover precariously above the relegation zone after just four wins
Amid the focus on footballers and their celebrations, along comes Michail Antonio and his backstroke. The returning West Ham striker scored, swam and showed why his club have missed him so.
Since his last Premier League start in November, they tried to make do with Sebastien Haller but his audition was so substandard, he now plays for Ajax in Holland.
West Ham could do with signing a striker in this window, in case Antonio breaks down again, but the 30-year-old really is something when fit. Someone just ought to remind him the Olympic Park's Aquatics Centre is actually over the road from the London Stadium.
Antonio's early winner – courtesy of a Pablo Fornals cross which Burnley's centre backs failed to clear – keeps West Ham on the edge of the European places. Talk will turn to the possibility of that if they continue at this rate, with them losing only one of their last seven league games.
'Avoiding relegation last year will always go down as one of the biggest things I've done because we were in a really difficult position,' said David Moyes after a third straight win in all competitions and fourth consecutive clean sheet.
'West Ham is a club with incredible potential and I don't think it is anywhere near it. We want to change the way people look at us but that takes time. We are certainly not settling.'
Sean Dyche's Burnley, meanwhile, will continue to wallow too close to the bottom three for comfort. With only nine goals scored in their 17 games, they are in trouble.
'I have belief in our centre-forwards but they need the supply,' said Dyche. 'I'm disappointed in the result but I do believe in what we do.'
West Ham led inside 10 minutes through the man they've missed sorely. Antonio, now free from hamstring trouble, was the scorer after a move involving all four of the hosts' forwards.
Said Benrahma played a through-ball into the path of Jarrod Bowen. He held it up and found Fornals. The 24-year-old from Spain crossed, the ball skimmed off the head of Burnley's Ben Mee, taking it away from his team-mate James Tarkowski, and Antonio scored.
Dyche was not happy with the miscommunication between his centre backs. Without Mee's touch, Tarkowski seemed set to clear the danger, but they were now behind.
There was a typically creative celebration from Antonio, who has pretended to be Homer Simpson in the past, and produced unusual dance moves. This time, he laid down and did the backstroke.
The politicians won't kick up a fuss about that, though they won't have liked seeing the West Ham forward embraced by team-mates once back on his feet.
The hosts continued to put pressure on the visitors, hoping to give themselves a cushion before the break. But it was Burnley who had the ball in the back of the net next.
Unfortunately for them, and fortunately for Aaron Cresswell, it was ruled offside. Chris Wood had broken down the left wing, crossed and Cresswell beat his own goalkeeper. Yet the assistant's flag came to the rescue, with replays confirming Wood was indeed off.
After 35 minutes, the Burnley woodwork was shaking. Bowen curled in a corner which Declan Rice flicked on to the back post. There, Angelo Ogbonna could not direct his header on target from two yards out. West Ham really ought to have been two goals to the good at half time.
It was almost 2-0 after 50 minutes when Antonio beat Matthew Lowton in the air. His header lacked pace but was creeping in, until Mee cleared the ball off the line.
Benrahma was removed after 67 minutes and he had enjoyed a good game. In the No 10 position, he had been popping up in pockets of space and causing Burnley problems.
West Ham were largely relying on counter-attacks for a second goal and came close when Rice produced a beauty of a long ball which curled into the path of Bowen. He brought it down well then tried to find the bottom right corner, but got the wrong side of the post.
Burnley had 10 minutes left to avoid defeat and Dwight McNeil almost dragged them back into the game by accident. The half-time substitute overhit a cross from the left wing which beat Lukasz Fabianski but not the crossbar as the ball bounced back into play.
This fixture three years ago saw West Ham supporters invade the pitch. Mark Noble confronted one fan and threw him to the ground, while another held a corner flag aloft in the centre circle.
The club feels in a better place now, as they slowly but surely force their way up the Premier League table under Moyes. Next is the return of Sam Allardyce and West Brom on Tuesday.
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